Legal activist group to shut down

2012-08-30 14:10

Johannesburg - The Restorative Justice Centre (RJC) in Pretoria is being forced to shut down on Friday, which will leave 31 people without jobs, Beeld reported on Thursday.

Executive director of the RJC, Mike Batley, told the newspaper that the department of social development had cancelled its subsidy to the organisation, backdated to July 1.

The subsidy paid for between 55-60% of the RJC's running costs, while the rest of the budget came from private individuals and the Lotto.

Batley did not want to elaborate on why the government had decided to cancel the subsidy, except to say that there were "different theories" on the issue.

Among those who have lost their jobs are 15 qualified social workers.

Since the RJC was founded 10 years ago, it has helped over 25 000 people, both criminals and victims of crime.

According to Batley, the vacuum left by the absence of the RJC would impact on all the Pretoria courts.

He said they would know by Friday whether they were going to lodge an urgent court application against the government's decision.

Restorative justice is an approach in which a victim's needs take precedence.

It involves the culprit admitting guilt for an offence, accepting responsibility for it, expressing remorse and apologising to the victim and the community, after which appropriate compensation is negotiated.